The first time veteran New York Times columnist George Vecsey went to a designated media area at a sports facility was Sept. 20, 1946. He was seven.
Vecsey’s dad ordered a Coke for his son and the Ebbets Field bartender slid the drink down the long press room bar, something that would remain etched in George Jr.’s memory. From this week’s podcast conversation with Bill Rhoden:
“Sixteen years later, I’m at the Polo Grounds, the first year of the Mets… I’m now covering for Newsday.”
“I go into the bar there and there’s a little stocky guy, Louis Napolitano, a little boxer out of Brooklyn. He slides the beer down the thing and I say, ‘Wait a minute. Did you work in Ebbets Field?’ And he says, ‘Yes, I was the bartender in Ebbets Field.’ So I’ve been getting free drinks since I was seven.”
This is Episode #48 of Bill Rhoden on Sports, with the host promising Thursday’s conversation is just the first of several installments with his friend Vecsey. Other topics touched on during Part 1 include Vecsey’s younger brother, basketball columnist Peter Vecsey, a 1966 telephone call with Jackie Robinson and the reporter’s lucrative collaboration with Loretta Lynn. Vecsey, who took a buyout from the Times in 2011, still writes occasionally for the paper.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
George Vecsey to Aspiring Sports Journalists: Do Something Else